The China Reds brings together players from the Shanghai Tigers, Beijing Bombers, Guangzhou Scorpions, Chengdu Kangaroos and Chongqing Cats. With three city leagues up and running the amount of footy being played in China has been more in 2016 than ever before.
In addition to the SCAFL, SHAFL and BAFL 2016 has seen the hosting of the inaugural greater China cup, hosted and won by the Guangzhou Scorpions in April. The China cup between the Shanghai Tigers and Beijing Bombers was played for the 16th and 17th time, with the home team claiming victory in each leg. Hot rivalries from all the footy played have been doused by the cool refreshing beverages post game and the China Reds have become a united power.
With 2015 China Reds captain, Chen Xiao Liang, now strutting his stuff with the Port Adelaide Magpies, a new breed of superstars will be showcasing the best of Chinese talent in the All-Asia Cup on Friday, before some of the boys back up and go for glory on Saturday. With twin towers White and Nobby dominating the skies, Ro “Longest kick in Asia” Graham putting his slipper to good use, South African Luc and Ben “Ginger Beard” Lonsdale running through the middle, Howard Zhang flashing his elite skills off halfback, Deano providing the class and Shaun “Rex” Kasteljin finally in an appropriate position to but his skills to use the Reds will be a force to reckon with.
A view from above: With local player development in China tracing back to 2007, a serious Port Power supported program in Guangzhou and plenty of match practice through the SCAFL and GDAFL domestic leagues, the Reds locals know their footy and never fail to astound us every year with their continued improvement. Without the superboot of Port recruit Chen Xiao Liang up forward, they will be looking to a new crop of aspiring young Guangdong-ren to step up and fill the void.
While the turnout from the Reds locals continues to grow each year, their 2015 campaign was not well supported by the Beijing Bombers and Shanghai Tiger expats which cost them a finals spot, dropping 2 prelim games against Lao and Myanmar by less than a kick each game. If the hype about a revival of footy in the north of the country is to be believed and a new generation of Bombers and Tigers can be found to complement the tireless efforts from Sichuan-based regulars Whitey and Nobby, the Reds should be a serious contender for the Second Division title.